Roman Polanski, 77, film director, multi-millionaire and convicted pedophile, has been freed by the Swiss, who refused to extradite him on the grounds that “sealed information” from the trial was never provided.Â He is free to return to France, where he is a citizen, and which does not extradite its citizens.
The warrant for his arrest on the charges of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, and of flight to avoid prosecution, remains active.Â He will be unable to return to the USA, or to enter any country which has an extradition treaty with the USA, and which might hold him FOR extradition.
The USA vowed to continue to continue pursuit and the possibility of extradition. It was reported by the Associated Press, and published by innumerable papers, that: “The United States believes that the rape of a 13-year-old child by an adult is a crime, and we continue to pursue justice in this case,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
Meanwhile, in a story headlined “LAPD Det. Philip Vannatter who arrested Roman Polanski in ’77 angered director was let off the hook,” The NY Daily News reported that a still angry former LAPD Detective Phillip Vannatter says, “He should be in jail. He never should have been given a chance to run.”
I’m very disappointed.Â Although USA prosecutors and the State Department insist there were no “holes” in the extradition papers, there was obviously SOMETHING wrong.Â I find it difficult to believe that the Swiss government would have released him if there had NOT been a significant procedural glitch.Â They had Mr. Polanski under house arrest (albeit in a multimillion dollar chalet, for ten months.Â I believe our government, AND the prosecutors assigned to the case, could have done a better job of this.
It IS unfortunate that he was given “a chance to run,” but prosecutors and courts take what they can get to reduce the number of cases going to trial all the time.Â Once that’s done, it’s up to the prosecutor and police to make sure the person in question CAN’T run.Â Instead, he was apparently allowed to keep his passport, and was therefore able to board an international flight just hours before his sentencing.